Amidst the Covid-19 crisis, CFOs have been in the thick of the action. In fact, one of the pandemic’s biggest impact areas has been in terms of liquidity and the resultant financial stress.Today, CFOs need to ensure that the business not only weathers the immediate shocks but also emerges from the crisis in the best possible shape. This requires efforts on multiple fronts – cash management, cost rationalisation, business growth, stakeholder management, scenario planning and strategy. MB Chinappa, the CFO of Biocon Biologics is focussed on building an agile organisation that is ready for the ‘next normal.’
FROM THE EDITOR
The Finance Budget 2021 placed the fiscal deficit at 9.5% of GDP. Whilst this may at first glance seem unusually high, the fact is that the Treasury appears to have come clean on government finances. This can only be construed as a good thing. Governments in India have, over the decades, made a habit of cloaking borrowings so as to comply with fiscal limitations.
More than just practitioners of traditional finance, today’s CFOs are the ‘Chief Economic Guardians’ of the business – a term coined by Manas Datta, Group CFO of Wockhardt, a global pharmaceutical and biotechnology company headquartered in Mumbai. According to Manas, other than CEOs, only CFOs have a 360-degree view of the enterprise. After years of back-office driven performance designs, CFOs are now well-positioned to be key value identifiers, process integrators, corporate ambassadors and digital evangelists.
In January, IMA ran a benchmarking survey that aimed to assess trends in salary increments and compensation budgets for FY22 across functions and levels of management. Over 220 companies participated in the survey. The analysis was segmented by sector, ownership, size and other ‘cuts’.
The Indian economy is recovering faster than expected, and this reflects strongly in IMA’s fourth-quarter FY21 (Jan-Mar) Business Confidence and Performance Index (BCPI) survey. Across sectors, companies are seeing a jump in sales, new orders, profitability and capacity utilisation, as also net new hiring, investments and discretionary spends .
IMA India’s 2020 Executive and Board Remuneration report is based on a detailed analysis of compensation trends amongst 16,000 executive and non-executive Directors on the Boards of approximately 1,600 listed companies and 250 unlisted ones.
In the lead-up to Budget 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had raised expectations that she would unveil a bold, reformist budget. However, markets had largely discounted this possibility and investors were in fact apprehensive about ‘nasty surprises’ pushed through under the garb of Covid-related compulsions.
GameStop is recently the most widely reported company in the American press. A month ago, nobody had even heard of it. It is a video game, consumer electronics and gaming merchandise retailer, with over 5,000 stores throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Efforts to bring more Independent Directors (IDs) on the Board, which began as an exercise in compliance, have over the years evolved into a self-motivated drive to improve the quality and authority of Boards.
Archana Jain, Founder and Managing Director, PR Pundit
Celebrities have been endorsing brands since the turn of the 20th century but over the last decade, a new class of influencers has emerged in the world of marketing. These are key opinion leaders (KOLs) who connect with consumers on a personal level and assert tremendous influence over them through the sharing of engaging and relatable content.
Jaimin Bhatt, President & Group CFO,Kotak Mahindra Bank
For decades, offshoring, outsourcing and centralisation have driven the Finance function’s productivity agenda. Recently however, organisations have begun to leverage blockchain, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to reshape Finance. Starting the automation journey looks easy but only a few companies are able to reap the desired benefits, and there often remains a difference between promise and delivery.
Gurumoorthy Mahalingam, Whole Time Member, SEBI
Discussions about reforming India’s debt market have continued for 20 years with very modest progress in enhancing their liquidity, efficiency and depth. While India’s total domestic debt amounts to ~70% of GDP, its corporate bond market is valued at just 16% of GDP.
Pratik Jain, Partner and National Leader – Indirect Tax, PwC India
e-Invoicing will radically change the way tax is administered under the GST. It seeks to reduce the interface between businesses and authorities, improve data accuracy, enable higher levels of trust and create new opportunities to revamp and automate laborious tax processes.
Ananth Narayan, Associate Professor of Finance, SP Jain Institute of Management and Research
India’s 2021 budget comes against the backdrop of a recession, with the economy expected to shrink by 7.5-8% in the current fiscal. However, in the last few months, the recovery has been faster than many expected. The pandemic has receded, GST collections have rebounded, forex reserves (currently at ~USD 585 billion) are at a life-time high and power consumption is back to pre-Covid levels.
Pramod Bhasin, Chairman, Clix Capital
Not only has Covid-19 created uncertainty on a scale previously unseen, it also has enabled a significant shift in behaviours and ways of working.As we return to ‘normalcy’, several challenges lie ahead for business leaders.
Rajeev Talwar, Chief Executive Officer, DLF
The construction and real estate sectors were probably the ones hardest hit by Covid-19. The pandemic only worsened a prolonged ordeal brought on by several shocks coming in quick succession: demonetisation, GST, RERA and then the NBFC crisis.